Jason Thomas Mraz (born June 23, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter, born and raised in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Mraz's stylistic influences include reggae, pop, rock, folk, jazz, bossa nova and hip hop.
Mraz released his debut album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come, which contained the hit single "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)", in 2002, but it was not until the release of his second album, Mr. A-Z that Mraz achieved major commercial success. The album peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 and sold over 100,000 copies in the US. In 2008, Mraz released his third studio album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and was a commercial success worldwide, peaking in the top ten of many international charts.
Mraz's international breakthrough came with the release of the single "I'm Yours" from the album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. The single peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Mraz his first top ten single. The song was on the Hot 100 for 76 weeks, beating the previous record of 69 weeks held by LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live". The song was a huge commercial success in the US, receiving a 5x platinum certification from the RIAA for sales of over five million. The song was successful internationally, topping the charts in New Zealand and Norway and peaking in the top ten of multiple international charts..
Jason Mraz was born and raised in Mechanicsville, Virginia. He is of Czech descent through his great-grandfather, who moved to the United States from Austria-Hungary in 1915. His surname is Czech for "frost" (Czech: mráz). His parents, Tom Mraz and June (née Tomes) Mraz, divorced when he was four years old, but he asserts that he had an idyllic childhood, saying, "My hometown of Mechanicsville was very American. There were white picket fences, a church on every street corner, low crime and virtually no drug use. It was a good place to grow up."
Mraz attended Lee-Davis High School in Mechanicsville. As a teenager, Mraz participated in local theater with SPARC (School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community). He played Joseph in the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
After graduating from high school in 1995, Mraz attended The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, for a short time, studying musical theater. He dropped out of the school after taking up the guitar and focusing more on songwriting, and began performing at the world famous Java Joes. He then briefly returned to Virginia before moving to San Diego, California.
Mraz is now engaged to singer-songwriter Tristan Prettyman. On December 24, 2010, Mraz posted on his Twitter "SHE SAID YES." Immediately after his post, Prettyman tweeted "For Once, I Am Speechless..... i did good! holy crap! man of my dreams!!! for the rest of my life!!!" Mraz stated that he will not be getting married until gay marriage is legal.
Mraz lives a health-conscious lifestyle and enjoys eating mostly raw vegan foods. He owns an avocado farm in Oceanside in Northern San Diego County near Fallbrook. Jason Mraz is an active supporter of several charities including VH1's Save The Music Foundation, MusiCares, Free the Children, Life Rolls On and SPARC. He has been named the 2010 SIMA Humanitarian of the Year. He also received the Clean Water Award in 2010 from the Surfrider Foundation.
Live at Java Joe's (2001)
In 2001, Mraz released a live acoustic album, Live at Java Joe's. The album featured Mraz's free-lancing vocal style and songs he later rereleased, including "1000 Things", "You and I Both", and "Halfway Home."
The album was made available to download on iTunes on March 11, 2008, under the title Jason Mraz: Live & Acoustic 2001.
Waiting For My Rocket to Come (2002-2003)
In 2002, Mraz released his first major-label debut album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come. The album was a relative commercial success, peaking at number 55 on the Billboard Hot 200 and at number two on the Top Heatseekers Chart. The lead single from the album, "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)" was co-written by music production team The Matrix and it was Mraz's first top 20 single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 15.
Mraz's friend and former roommate Billy "Bushwalla" Galewood collaborated on the album, co-writing "Curbside Prophet" and the album's third single, and "I'll Do Anything".
Touring and Mr. A–Z (2003-2008)
Mraz opened for Tracy Chapman in March 2003 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. In July 2005, Mraz opened for Alanis Morissette during her Jagged Little Pill Acoustic Tour. On July 26, 2005, he released his second major-label album, Mr. A–Z, for Atlantic Records. It entered the Billboard 200 album chart at number 5. In December, the album earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, while its producer, the prolific Steve Lillywhite, received a nomination for Producer of the Year.In 2006 "Life is Wonderful" the first track of the album was featured in the Hilton Journeys Hotel commercial"
Mraz began his long-running tour in support of Mr. A–Z at the San Diego Music Awards on September 12. The tour featured a variety of opening acts, including Bushwalla and Tristan Prettyman, with whom he had co-written the duet "Shy That Way" in 2002.Mraz and Prettyman dated, ending their relationship in 2006. They also co-wrote the song "All I Want For Christmas is Us". In November 2005, Mraz opened for the Rolling Stones on five dates during their 2005–2006 world tour. Also in 2005, Mraz was one of many singers featured in the fall advertisement campaign for The Gap entitled "Favorites". The music-themed campaign also featured other singers including Tristan Prettyman, Michelle Branch, Joss Stone, Keith Urban, Alanis Morissette, Brandon Boyd, and Michelle Williams. In December 2005, Mraz released the first part of his ongoing podcast.
Jason Mraz performs at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut on May 17, 2006.
Jason Mraz at Gröna Lund In Stockholm, Sweden 2008
In March 2006, Mraz also performed for the first time at a sold-out performance in Singapore with Toca Rivera as part of the annual Mosaic Music Festival. In May 2006, Mraz toured mostly small venues and music festivals in the U.S., along with a few shows in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The tour included a May 6, 2006 acoustic show with P.O.D., Better Than Ezra, Live, and The Presidents of the United States of America. Mraz was featured as a headlining guest of St. Louis's annual Fair St. Louis and performed a free concert at the base of the Arch on July 1, 2006. During this time, Mraz was also the opening act at several dates for Rob Thomas' Something to Be Tour.
In December 2006, Selections for Friends, the live, online-only album recorded during the Songs for Friends Tour, was released. Selections for Friends features Jason's favorite songs from the Schubas Tavern and Villa Montalvo shows he played in July 2006. Jason Mraz began 2007 by debuting his new single "The Beauty in Ugly", an earlier track penned by Mraz entitled "Plain Jane" that he rewrote for the ABC television program Ugly Betty. The song was featured as a part of ABC's "Be Ugly in '07" campaign. He has since released a song in Spanish entitled "La Nueva Belleza (The New Beauty)".
In 2007, American Idol contestant Chris Richardson performed "Geek in the Pink", which subsequently garnered the song mass recognition and increased downloads at the American iTunes Store. "Geek in the Pink" peaked at #22 on the U.S. iTunes Store on March 10, 2007, but it was ineligible for the site's Hot 100. The tape-recording of bootlegs during Mraz's shows is explicitly supported by him and his management. In 2007, he also provided background vocals on Mandy Moore's song "Slummin' in Paradise", of her studio album Wild Hope.
We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. (2008-2009)
Mraz released his third studio album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. on May 13, 2008. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot 200, giving Mraz his highest charting album to date. Following the success of lead single, "I'm Yours", the album broke into the top ten of many international music charts and charted in the top three in Australia and the US.
The first single, "I'm Yours", reached #1 on AAA radio charts in the US. The single was a B-side to Mr A-Z, and was made famous by recordings from his live shows. In September 2008, the song became Mraz's first Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #6. As of October 14, 2008, the album has been certified Gold by the RIAA, selling in excess of 500,000 copies in the US. The song was a commercial success worldwide, peaking in the top ten of multiple European charts and topping the charts in New Zealand for six weeks. In 2008, Mraz launched his single "I'm Yours" at the music industry-only event titled Sunset Sessions. Exactly one year later, Jason was nominated for a Grammy on the single.
Mraz and his song "I'm Yours" were nominated for Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2009 51st Grammy Awards. The album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical in 2009. On January 31, 2009, Mraz was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, performing "I'm Yours" and "Lucky", the latter with Colbie Caillat. "Lucky" peaked on the Hot 100 at 48.
With "Make It Mine" and "Lucky", Mraz won two awards for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals, respectively, at the 2010 52nd Grammy Awards.
On June 20, 2009, Mraz was awarded the Hal David Starlight award from the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.
Fourth studio album (2009–present)
In early 2009, a song titled "Try Try Try" was leaked out into the internet. New songs have been performed in his recent concerts, some of which have been uploaded onto YouTube. Earlier this year, Jason Mraz spent time in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil working with Milton Nascimento. Mraz also recently met and worked with Willie Nelson, whose 'style' is fondly referenced in one of Mraz's early hits "Curbside Prophet."
In November 2009, Mraz posted on his Myspace page plans for a new album to be recorded starting in December, stating "In 2 weeks time I will enter the studio and begin recording the next album. Only a handful of songs are written and slated but the momentum of love is with me. Every day new verses get added on. The songs are coming together piece by piece. The process is unlike any of the other records before this. It's like I'm being gifted the album without having to do the work. I'm creating that in 6 months the project will be complete and then we'll hit the road again with new sounds and new musicians."
Mraz has recently returned from London, England where he was working with a London Studio for his new album with producer Martin Terefe. Christina Perri has also recently tweeted about making a 'masterpiece' with Mraz. Jason also got a chance to work with British singer-songwriter Dido on her upcoming album.
Mraz recently contributed vocals for The Grooveline Horns' eponymous EP on the track "Fun", a cover of the Con Funk Shun song, released March 2, 2010.
In August 2010, Mraz had a Q&A interview with Spin magazine. In the interview, he stated the current possible titles for his fourth album are Peace Canoe or The Love Album.
On September 13, 2010, Mraz was featured on the single "Love, Love, Love" by Hope.
On September 28, 2010, Mraz announced the upcoming release of the new "Life Is Good" EP consisting of recordings from his concerts from Maine to the Life is Good Festival in Canton, Massachusetts which will include live recordings of "Coyotes" and multiple new songs, "San Disco Reggaefornia", "Up", "What Mama Say", and "The Freedom Song". The EP was released on October 5, 2010. On the same tour, Mraz also showcased other new songs, such as "Thinking About You", "Love Looks Like" and "In Your Hands".
From Boxing Day 2010, the official website was updated with a series of images, the first seemingly a sequence of blocks separated by points to indicate a date, and the second image containing a rectangle, circle, triangle and a square, which appear to spell out the word "love". This image is also trademarked.
Appearing on VH1 Top Twenty Countdown on March 5, 2011, Jason Mraz noted that he had twelve songs ready to go for the album but then decided they weren't good enough. The Jason Mraz group Twitter feed (@theRKOP) noted that the album would not be released until the fall, citing his song-writing schedule.